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Realisations during Rehabilitation

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Whew, it’s been so long since I signed in here that I almost forgot the password – gotta give thanks to the advances in modern technology for password banks, eh! Now, that that’s out of the way…

My heartiest wishes of peace and blessings upon you all!

It’s been almost an age since I have sat down to write – well, I say that but really I have been writing, just more on a personal level than on a generalised scale – but, it is currently 07:32AM here in the sunny skies of London, and yes, despite what our Prime Minister might have to say with the many ifs and buts, we are still very much indoors.

As many of you might already know, we are well into the blessed month of Ramadan at the moment, a month which, for most of us, is almost like one of rehabilitation. It’s a month where we take stock of our life so far and assess our character and the ways in which we have grown and/or failed to (gotta be honest y’all, the motto has to be: hold yourself accountable before you are held to account). When you think about it, the fact that we have been in lockdown during this blessed month has been a genuine, and I do not say this lightly, gift from God.

This is for all the times we have said “I wish I had some more time“.

For all the times we have said “I wish I could become a hermit“.

But most importantly, this is for all the times we have said, “Please just show me a sign. Any sign that I am worthy of life“.

This blessing has truly come (albeit in the form of a pretty nasty virus) at a time which we are most in need of it, and if that’s not telling of the way God’s Divine Plan works, then I just don’t know what to say. Needless to say, being cut off from the outside world has had its fair share of both highs and lows, but truth be told, it’s had even greater moments of realisations. You might not be able to relate to any of my realisations during this time, but I’d like to share them with you anyway because the past two months (maybe just over, I’m starting to lose track of time) have weighed heavily upon my bones, but I am learning to see the silver lining anyway. Fair warning, it’s a bit of a long one today!

Weeks 1 and 2 of lockdown allowed me to better understand who I am in relation to God rather than who God is in relation to me.

Nothing benefits the heart more than a spiritual retreat wherein it enters the domain of meditation.

Shaykh Ibn Ata’Allah Al-Askandari, Kitab Al-Hikam [Hikam 12]

I remember when I first read this nugget of wisdom (long before lockdown was a thing) I didn’t really understand it. I couldn’t quite grasp how seclusion could allow one to rise in their remembrance of The Creator. But, it makes sense now. The less you feel like you have to be present for everyone else, the more you realise that your closest companion has been God all along. In your highs and in your lows, God has always been there. It was never about who God was because He remained, steady and present in our lives, but it was everything to do with who we were as people and how much importance we truly gave Him.

Weeks 3 and 4 however instilled the art of stillness within and taught me that there is so much to be heard in the silence if you’d just listen.

Be it the crying of a tree or a camel; the Prophet ﷺ was able to both hear and listen with his heart. As the intellect is perfected, it will become aware of the slightest changes […] ‘for the intelligent person a small gesture is sufficient’.

Shaykh Mikaeel Ahmed Smith, With the Heart in Mind [The Language of Emotion]

I remember the very first time I’d discovered who Shaykh Mikaeel was. It was after a long day of work and I was sitting in the car of a beloved friend who was super excited to show me this book that had made it here all the way from the States. I remember not thinking much of it at first, but the moment I picked it up to read, it was something I sat and read cover to cover in one sitting. It’s one of those books that is so simple in the message it sends and yet, it feels like a kick to the shins. Especially this one section, it really made me realise (even more so now given the climate and the social distancing) that though I can listen with my ears, how good am I really at picking up the emotional cues of my loved ones? Do I really know anything about good character if I don’t know how to use the Prophetic paradigm of emotional intelligence?

Weeks 5 and 6 really started to shake me to my core and make me realise that it is only when you have no choice but to look in the mirror that you see yourself to be who you truly are.

Narrated by Sufyan ibn Waki’: Husayn said: “I asked my father about the conduct of the Prophet ﷺ towards those in his gathering. He said, ‘The Prophet ﷺ was always with a cheerful countenance. He had an easy-going character and soft, affable disposition.’

Imam al-Tirmidhi, Al-Shama’il Al-Muhammadiyya [Hadith 351]

Often, we sell ourselves this lie that like-ability in the public eye is in someway akin to being a good person. But, it is exactly what we tell ourselves it is, a lie. We cover our inner selves up to the point that our outward character exudes only goodness – now, don’t get me wrong here, this is amazing but how far inward does this goodness go? The goodness that we present, do we show it to our own selves? Do we show it to the ones in our own home? By reading a bit of the Shama’il every day, I am both learning and unlearning the person I have become over the years and figuring out how I can emulate our beloved better. I am learning how to be wholly present and entirely gentle, but most importantly, I am learning how to internalise love in the same way I spread it.

Weeks 7, 8, and now 9 are teaching me a hard lesson fast: idle talk is easy, but at what expense?

Just as you hate to be shamed, and your faults to be mentioned, so too does he. Yet if you conceal his faults, Allah Most High will conceal yours.

Imam al-Ghazali, The Beginning of Guidance [Sins Committed with the Limbs]

When you have nothing else to do, and very little to relay about the day you may have had, it is easy to find yourself in a bit of a pickle where you’re engaging in conversations about other people – I say this because I too have made this dreadful mistake. But, my sister-in-law and I are currently working on really calling each other out when we make this mistake because the truth is, if we have time to be speaking about others, good or bad, we have time to be remembering our Lord (or frankly, to get a hobby). One of the biggest things I try and remind myself when I even consider bringing someone else’s name on my tongue: how would I feel if my name was brought up in this same manner?


Even if you take nothing away from this (very long) post, please remember this: you are reading this today, which means you still have life in you yet to live. Do not despair of that which you do not know. Embrace the moment for what it is and let yourself breathe.

1 COMMENT

  1. Not quite sure why I’ve only read this now but WOW am I in awe of your wonderful reflections – pls write more gems for us all!! Feeling blessed that our paths crossed last year – may Allah (swt) always increase you, ameen. Love you ♥️♥️

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Ayesha Khanom

Sometimes a teacher, sometimes a student, but mostly caffeinated. This blog is a terrible attempt at writing out my thoughts - think of it as the 'comments, complaints, and suggestions' section of my brain. Nevertheless, I hope that some of these words will find a place in your heart and will stay with you even when I do not. If you'd like to get in touch, send me a message on Instagram or leave a comment on one of these posts and I'll get back to you at the best possible time.

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